There is a sun-beaten ruggedness at the heart of Drain. It’s not as stereotypically Californian as the aforementioned Manhattan Beach legends, but it’s no less representative of the real Golden State.
“We’re just a product of our environment,” Sammy smiles. “We write songs about where we live and who we are. I live in Santa Cruz. It’s not a perfect place, but it’s beautiful, man. In the FTS music video, I’m riding my little red scooter. That’s me every day. If you live in Santa Cruz, you’ve seen me on that scooter. What you see is what you get. It’s why we’ll play a Descendents cover, or I’ll wear a Grateful Dead tee onstage. There are bands out there looking tough and toting guns who’ve never even been in a fight or fired a gun. We just keep it real, man. I have a good time. I like sitting in the sun. I like going to the beach. I just want to ride my scooter into the sunset.”
And, from ZULU to Scowl, Drain aren’t the only Californian hardcore crew striking it big right now...
“It ebbs and flows,” Sammy sidesteps the Cali-core hyperbole. “Everyone has a moment, then it moves on to the next. It’s a little bit of hype. It’s a little bit of the shared values. If you look at that Baltimore scene that was coming up a couple of years ago with Trapped Under Ice, Angel Du$T and Turnstile, it was all built around the same 15 or 20 guys. They made a big impact. In LA and Southern California, you have Downpresser, Twitching Tongues, Harness, Soul Search and all those bands who are all friends, playing a lot of the same shows and generally putting on for each other.
“In terms of us – and it’s important to note that I’m a transplant – it feels like all of my friends have been in bands forever. We’re very blessed to have, within maybe a 30 or 40 mile radius, Drain, Scowl, Sunami, Gulch and SPY. That’s pretty crazy. But we all ride for each other and put on for each other. We can do things ourselves. DIY shows are always cracked-out because we’ve toured over the years and know the people to make them happen. You don’t need a big promoter, a big agent, a big label. It’s about a good group of friends who’re writing good music, putting up for each other and saying ‘We can do this shit! We can make something bigger.’”